I have a GNC gold card. A Vitamin Shoppe keychain. A Vitamin World coupon card. And the customer service reps at Bodybuilding.com know me by my first name. My name is Jaime, and I'm a supplement junkie.
There, I admitted it. I know that a lot of you are saying, "Ya, so what? I don't get it? I have a Gold Card too". Well the problem isn't that I'm addicted to buying supplements, the problem is, I don't use them...well, consistently that is.
I collect, I hoard, I bargain, but I still can't get myself to structure my regimen. Call it forgetfulness, carelessness or just plain laziness. But the point is, I'm not doing it, and I should.
I would definitely see an improvement in health if I took my multivitamin everyday. My heart and cardiovascular system would probably be a lot stronger if I took my fish oil/Omega 3-6-9s. My skin would be clearer, and I wouldn't have as much free radical damage, if I took my Vitamin E.
And it would be a lot easier to avoid getting that d@mn scurvy if I could just stomach those chewable Vitamin C tabs. I'm clearly missing all the benefits, yet still spending my monthly paycheque on all these supplements. You'd think by now I would have learned my lesson!
Here are just a few of the supplements I would put in my "toolbox" to take daily:
I know a lot of you may be saying, "I eat food. Why do I need a multi?" Well, I'll give you a 'MULTI-tude' of reasons (cheesy, I know). Well, for starters, some of the food we eat is normally malnutritious due to mass harvesting, pesticides sprayed on food, and hormones given to animals. Consistent use of multivitamins and other key supplements can promote good health and help prevent disease. A report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition(CRN) found that ongoing use of multivitamins (preferably with minerals) and other single-nutrient supplements (likecalciumorfolic acid) demonstrated quantifiable positive impact in areas ranging from strengthening the immune system of highly-vulnerable elderly patients, to drastically reducing the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
2. Vitamin C (And/Or Vitamin E):
Free radicals. The bane of every bodybuilder's existence. Although oxygen is essential for life, its reactivity with other compounds can be detrimental. Free radicals are the result of some oxygen molecules that are converted into oxidizing agents during the process that creates energy in cells.
| Free Radicals
Radicals are atoms, molecules or ions with unpaired electrons on an otherwise open shell configuration. These unpaired electrons are usually highly reactive, so radicals are likely to take part in chemical reactions.
These harmful compounds, "free radicals", can be caused in a number of ways, such as ionized radiation from the sun, x-rays, and industry; nitrous oxide from automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke,alcohol, saturated fat, chemicals found in food, water , and air, and lastly - HARD TRAINING. Because of free radicals' instability, they react with cells in the body causing abnormality. But have no fear! Vitamin C has anti-oxidative properties; meaning it helps fight the effect of free-radical damage.
3. Whey Protein:
Whey protein (the highest quality and best form of protein) is incredible stuff. It provides the body with the necessary building blocks to produce amino acids that are used for building muscle tissue. Whoa! Nearly every bodybuilder knows the importance of protein supplementation.
Studies have been conducted that compare whey protein to other sources. They have found that whey protein contains the perfect combination of overall amino acid makeup and in just the right concentrations for optimal performance in the body. Both hormonal and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced with supplementation of whey protein, too! Not to mention the benefits whey protein has on the body's immune system according to documented scientific research. Whey protein also plays a role as an antioxidant and helps support a healthy immune system. Most importantly, consistent whey protein intake coupled with exercise will result in consistent muscle building.
Research suggests that after intensely working out, glutamine levels in the body are reduced by as much as 50%. Since the body relies on glutamine as cellular fuel for the immune system, scientific studies suggest that glutamine supplementation can minimize the breakdown of muscle tissue and improve protein metabolism.Glutamine's cell-volumizing effects have also been supported by several studies. A recent study suggests a meaningful increase in growth-hormone levels when as little as 2 grams of free-form L-glutamine supplement was consumed! Bodybuilders can particularly gain from the intake of glutamine.
Since bodybuilders use a lot of their glutamine when working out, the immune system relies heavily on this amino acid. Catabolism, or muscle break down, can occur if the body robs muscles of glutamine for use elsewhere such as nitrogen transport or maintaining the immune system. Glutamine supplementation is certainly important in keeping muscles building - not deteriorating.
Reminding Yourself To Take The Supplements
I think what I'm trying to say with this article, is that my performance, body and overall well-being would be a lot better if I had a pill box the size of my kitchen sink to store my daily supplements, rather than having them scattered all around my apartment.
But barring that, here are some things I will start implementing, and you can do too, to remind yourself to take all those important powders and pills in your stash:
- Set a reminder alarm on your phone/blackberry so that it goes off when you need to take something.
- Have your significant other (or parents) remind you when you wake up/go to bed, to take what you need.
- Lay everything you need for the next day, out on the kitchen counter or night table the night before.
- Put 1-2 days worth of supplements in a Ziploc baggie, and keep that Ziploc in your cooler/knapsack/briefcase.
So in finishing, I just want to emphasize how important it is to take a lot of your supplements daily (especially the vitamin and mineral ones).
For a lot of them, the benefits only come after a certain number of consecutive days of use, ie. CLA. Granted, there are some supplements you use in cycles, but for the majority, you will see a great benefit to taking them consistently.